Expert TalkExpert Talk: How Stress Can Lower Your Chances Of Conception & Ways...

Expert Talk: How Stress Can Lower Your Chances Of Conception & Ways To Overcome It

Being stressed can reduce your odds of getting pregnant as it directly affects various factors that contribute to conceiving. These factors include hormone production, eating disorders, and even the ability to release an egg. Stress refers to the feeling of emotional tension. Small anxiety inducers, such as deadlines or worrying about an interview, is completely normal. But unusually high levels of stress or chronic stress can start hampering one’s daily life.

Stress can vary from person to person and is highly personal. Our bodies react to stress in different ways. Some people’s heart rate goes up, some start sweating, while some others begin to breathe heavily. Stress is sometimes essential as it makes our body react quickly. It can help us flee dangerous situations. However, if the factors that cause stress are always present, your body remains in a constant fight-or-flight state. 

Stress can also force people to choose unhealthy lifestyle behaviours that impact fertility. Some common symptoms of chronic stress are:

  • Headaches
  • Sleep disruption
  • Eating disorders
  • Not being able to exercise
  • Urge to smoke and drink
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Digestive issues
  • Muscle tension

To commemorate Stress Awareness Month (April), The Channel 46 has connected with Dr Saroja Koppala, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, to understand how stress can negatively affect fertility and how to overcome the stressors to enhance the chances of conception.

How Stress Can Negatively Affect Fertility?

1. Not Getting Enough Sleep

A Constant Lack Of Sleep Can Affect Your Physical Wellbeing & Hence Your Fertility

Nowadays, people usually have a hectic life and work schedule that lead to frequent late nights with early mornings. In addition to this, it isn’t easy to sleep when there are too many things on your mind. This leaves you with a constant lack of sleep that affects your bodies and fertility. Stress also causes irregular menstruation. Moreover, people who don’t get the ideal seven to eight hours of sleep every day are likely to suffer from obesity, a significant risk factor for infertility and miscarriage. Some ways to improve sleeping habits are setting a bedtime routine, avoiding work before sleep, and not keeping a TV in your bedroom.

Read 12 Signs You May Have A Fertility Problem & 5 Ways To Improve Your Chances Of Conception

2. Unhealthy Eating Habits

Being Overweight Or Underweight Is Directly Linked To Fertility Problems

Stress often causes people to overeat and have an unhealthy diet. On the other hand, some people completely lose their appetite under pressure. Being overweight or underweight is directly linked to fertility problems. Eating less and becoming underweight can also lead to medical conditions like amenorrhea. In simple words, amenorrhea means no menstrual cycle and no ovulation. One cannot get pregnant without ovulation. 

Weight issues that damage fertility are not only a woman’s problem; it equally impacts male fertility causing lower sperm counts. Therefore, it is vital to have a healthy diet and exercise to stay fit, especially if the couple is trying to conceive.

3. Reduced Sex Drive

…stress leads to a decrease in libido…which further causes infertility.

Sex is a crucial factor in the process of conception, and it is a great stress-reliever. Unfortunately, people who are struggling with stress fail to find the time for it. This is because stress leads to a decrease in libido. Most women also experience a reduction in their sex drive, which further causes infertility. In men, stress is also known to cause impotence. A couple who wishes to conceive must find time for sexual intercourse and intimacy. Tracking the ovulation window and having sexual intercourse a few times a week can help. Sex-related problems are also another leading cause of issues in relations. Doctors recommend counselling to overcome such problems.

Read What’s The Link Between Obesity & Infertility? A Fertility Consultant Explains

4. Lifestyles Factors

Stress forces individuals to make some bad choices in life. For instance, people start smoking and drinking alcohol to get relief from stress.

Stress forces individuals to make some bad choices in life. For instance, people start smoking and drinking alcohol to get relief from stress. However, these two can harm fertility in both men and women. Smoking can lead to a greater risk of fallopian tube damage, increased cervical cancer risk, lower quality and quantity of eggs, and a higher risk of miscarriage. It is found that women and men who smoke also have lower odds of IVF success. Drinking alcohol also reduces sperm count. Women who are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant should altogether avoid drinking.

What To Do If You Are Struggling With Stress?

If you are struggling with stress, it is important for you to do the following to address the root cause of it. 

1. Consult A Doctor

Seek the support of your doctor who can provide the resources of treatment like therapists and psychiatrists. Mental health professionals can help you feel in control of the situation and can work with you to reduce your anxiety and stress.

2. Lead A Healthy Lifestyle

You can manage symptoms of stress by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, and getting proper sleep. Aim for an improved work-life balance, and spend quality time with friends and family. 

3. Nurture A Strong Relationship With Your Partner

Strengthen your relationship with your partner by communicating your issues to navigate the situation.

If you have tried to conceive for more than a year and have not succeeded, you can seek the help of a fertility specialist who will be able to offer you proper guidance on various treatments available.

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